Parallel Park

SuperDriver Learning Centre - Parallel Park

Manoeuvres - Parallel Park


On your driving test you will be expected to carry out 1 manoeuvre.  We don't know which manoeuvre out of the 4 potential manoeuvres you will be asked to do.  So you need to be perfect at all 4 of them... just in case.   Here we give you a method to complete the Parallel Park manoeuvre. 


Regardless that this manoeuvre is a test manoeuvre, you need to know it anyway.  Learning how to parallel park is a necessity.  In life you will probably need to park between 2 cars.  If you do you need around 1.5 car lengths of space between the 2 cars you are parking between.  It is different on test.  You will not be asked to park between 2 cars. 


What do you have to do on test?


Your examiner will ask you to pull over on the left.  They will ask you to drive along side the car in front of you, and then complete a parallel park finishing the manoeuvre within 2 car lengths and reasonably close to the kerb.  If it goes wrong you are permitted to correct it, but any more than one correction and you could fail the whole test.

You are in a parked position and there is a vehicle in front of you that you will use to perform a parallel park. 


Perform your POM (Prepare, Observe, Move off) routine, if there are any cars approaching from any direction do not set off.  If it is clear line up alongside the object car like position 1 in the diagram.

 

The gap between your car and the object car should be between half a metre and a metre.  If you look to your nearside door mirror it should like it is at the front of the object car.  This is particularly important for small cars. 

 

Position 1.  Now you are lined up, complete your POM routine, remember to put the car into reverse. It will also help you to lower the nearside door mirror.  Yes, you can do this on test!


As you slowly reverse, look over your left shoulder through the back window and the nearside rear window.  


The nearside rear window will give you a view of the object car.  When your car is level at the rear with the object car or has just passed, it is time to steer.  You can stop at this point if you like.  Whilst the car is moving steer 1 full turn left.  (not full lock).  You need to check over your right should to check it is safe as the front end of your car moves to the right.

Position 2.  As you care continues to reverse slowly you will notice the car coming to a 45 degress angle (almost 2 o'clock).  Again you can stop at this point if you like.  Now it is time to steer 1 full turn right.


Your car will not reverse slowly to the kerb in a straightline at your 45 degree angle.  Glance between your back window and your nearside door mirror.  You need to know if there are any vehicles around.


Position 3.  Your left door mirror is key now, some drivers know when they need to steer 1 full turn right to avoid hitting the kerb just by looking at the door mirror.  Some drivers need a reference point.  The reference point in this case is the door handle lining up with the kerb as shown in the image.  When you reach this point stop.  The add 1 full turn to the right.  Keeping crawling, keet an eye on the kerb.  If you need more steering to avoid the kerb steer to the right some more.  


The car will straighten up.  Come to a stop.  Secure the Car, raise your door mirror.  Very important, raise your door mirror.


WHAT TO DO IF A VEHICLE COMES AND YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS MANOEUVRE?

 

If there is room for the vehicle to get around you then you must let the other driver pass you.  If there is not room, you may continue.  If you are not sure of the other drivers intentions, then you must stop and wait until you are certain before continuing.  If you cannot complete the manoeuvre because they are too close then you should drive away.


WHAT COULD LEAD TO A SERIOUS MISTAKE ON TEST?


Poor observations, not giving way to a vehicle approaching, bumping the kerb, finishing too far from the kerb and finishing more than 2 car lengths away are all possible reasons for serious mistakes.  A serious mistake means a test fail.


DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AUTOMATIC CARS AND MANUALS

 

When completing this manoeuvre you must keep the car slow and the steering fast.  By now you should know how to keep the car slow crawling forward.  You will have been using this control as you creep forward at closed junctions for example.


In an automatic releasing a little pressure from the brakes will make the car crawl forward.  Up hill you may need the smallest amounts of gas.


In a manual you will use your clutch control.  On a level road or slight hill your left foot will control the speed (clutch slightly up from biting point and your car will crawl).  Your right foot will cover the brake.


In a manual keep your clutch all the way down and use your brake to control speed if you need to crawl slowly down a hill.


You may require use of the handbrake in a manual car depending on the gradient.

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This is a nice simple method to complete this manoeuvre. 


Your instructor may show you another way.  You may know another way!